Ed Yourdon on Death March Software Projects

If you missed Michael Krigsman’s post about it a few weeks back, you might want to check out the Ed Yourdon’s presentation on “death march” software projects (which I’ve embedded below).  Those of you who have been on a death march will feel right at home as he describes them, and you may find the advice he offers very useful the next time you find yourself stuck in one.  The presentation is full of though-provoking tidbits… I think my favorite part is the section on system dynamics modeling (slides 89-96).  It outlines why project team dynamics are so complex and so easily underestimated.  Slide 72, “Worst Practices” is also worth a look, especially if you are involved in project leadership, whether as a manager or sponsor.  From that page comes: “Don’t expect to recover from a schedule slip of more than 10% without acknowledging a disproportionately greater reduction in software functionality to be delivered."  I wince to think how often that principle is ignored.